Football season is nearly upon us, Gator Nation, and boy does it feel good. It’s been a long eight months of dealing with 4-8 talk, but here we are, on the cusp of another beautiful fall in Gainesville, FL.
Last season was a bear to deal with, and having to stomach the school out West winning a national championship didn’t make it any easier. Things don’t always go the way we want them to, but here’s the good news: with each passing day the University of Florida is that much closer to reasserting itself on top of the college football world.
Will we see the dominant Florida football program the nation has come to know, and teams have come to fear, this season?
Maybe the more important question is: will Kurt Roper resurrect the Florida offense to compliment Will Muschamp’s elite defense? If a track record means anything, Roper is the guy to do it. He turned Eli Manning into a No. 1 pick and Duke’s offense into an ACC title contender – just imagine what he can do with the talent on hand in The Swamp.
Sports Illustrated didn’t tab the Gators as a sleeper team to make the College Football Playoff for no reason. We all watched Auburn shock the world during 2013‘s regular season, and then nearly pull off a national championship upset of Florida State. Anything is possible.
So what are we looking at for this season facing one of the nation’s toughest schedules? Trips to Tuscaloosa and Tallahassee are daunting. Tennessee has renewed energy under Butch Jones. Georgia is hoping for a four-peat. LSU and South Carolina have once again reloaded. And, as we learned last year in losses to Vanderbilt and Georgia Southern, you can never write off the rest of the schedule.
With less than a month to go until season, what better time to take a stab at how this season will play out. Below is a week-to-week prediction, including best and worst case scenarios.
Best: Florida 56 – Idaho 0, Record 1-0
Worst: Florida 35 – Idaho 14, 1-0
Prediction: Florida 47 – Idaho 7, 1-0
Storyline: Kurt Roper excites fans by showing off just a little bit of what’s in store with the offense. Backup defenders give up a late score.
Best: Florida 65 – Eastern Michigan 0, 2-0
Worst: Florida 39 -Eastern Michigan 14, 2-0
Prediction: Florida 55 – Eastern Michigan 10, 2-0
Storyline: See Idaho.
Best: Florida 44 – Kentucky 10, 3-0
Worst: Florida 24 – Kentucky 17, 3-0
Prediction: Florida 38 – Kentucky 10, 3-0
Storyline: Florida’s offense and defense make quick work and put Kentucky away early.
Best: Florida 24 – Alabama 21, 4-0
Worst: Alabama 44 – Florida 14, 3-1
Prediction: Alabama 27 – Florida 17, 3-1
Storyline: Florida shows why it’s a sleeper pick for the CFB Playoff in Bryant-Denny Stadium. Gators hang tough till midway through the third quarter, when Alabama flexes some muscle and goes up by two scores.
Best: Florida 31 – Tennessee 17, 5-0
Worst: Tennessee 24 – Florida 21, 3-2
Prediction: Florida 28 – Tennessee 21, 4-1
Storyline: Gators push the streak to nine straight on the back of the defense’s play. A couple of big turnovers swing the momentum in UF’s favor.
Best: Florida 35 – LSU 17, 6-0
Worst: LSU 28 – Florida 24, 3-3
Prediction: Florida 28 – LSU 17, 5-1
Storyline: The Florida defense and crowd noise is too much for LSU’s new quarterback to overcome. Kurt Roper’s offense puts together some dazzling drives reminiscent of games against the Tigers during the Urban Meyer era.
Best: Florida 38 – Missouri 14, 7-0
Worst: Florida 24 – Missouri 14, 4-3
Prediction: Florida 30 – Missouri 10, 6-1
Storyline: Gators offense and defense is just too much for Missouri to overcome in The Swamp. The Tigers aren’t quite on the level they were last year.
Best: Florida 34 – Georgia 24, 8-0
Worst: Georgia 24 – Florida 14, 4-4
Prediction: Florida 28 – Georgia 17, 7-1
Storyline: Will Muschamp essentially secures himself another year at the helm with this win.
Best: Florida 48 – Vanderbilt 10, 9-0
Worst: Florida 28 – Vanderbilt 14, 5-4
Prediction: Florida 42 – Vanderbilt 10, 8-1
Storyline: Gators aren’t losing to Vanderbilt in back-to-back years, especially not against a new head.
Best: Florida 28 – South Carolina 21, 10-0
Worst: South Carolina 28 – Florida 14, 5-5
Prediction: Florida 24 – South Carolina 17, 9-1
Storyline: An evenly contested game where Florida finds a few more ways to get things done. This is the one where the Gators get a good bounce or two.
Best: Florida 65 – EKU 0, 11-0
Worst: Florida 38 – EKU 7, 6-5
Prediction: Florida 46 – EKU 7, 10-1
Storyline: Starters build an early lead, then it”ll be time to rest the first string for the upcoming FSU game.
at Florida State
Best: Florida 24 – FSU 21, 12-0
Worst: FSU 35 – Florida 14, 7-5
Prediction: FSU 24 – Florida 17, 10-2
Storyline: FSU is just too good, especially at home. It’s a knock-down, drag-out game reminiscent of the rivalry from the 90s. The Seminoles pull out a touchdown late to win.